Interview with Brewster Kahle (aged 33) conducted by Dave Marvit, in Cambridge Massachusetts, November 28, 1992. Interview held at the newly-created WAIS Incorporated, "three blocks from Harvard Square". Runtime is roughly 2 hours.
Topics covered include:
- History of WAIS
- Definition of Wide Area Information Server (WAIS) Technology
- Early experiments of WAIS-like services; what went right and wrong
- Working at Thinking Machines Corporation
- Devising Search Algorithms
- Early advancements in search (and the roots of search)
- Relevance feedback
- The excitement and personal aspects of search
- Deep overview of the functionality and system of WAIS
- The issues and technical considerations of transmitting video via network
- The model of providing services for free to attract users
- Effects and use of Internet in Politics and Privacy Issues
- The Markets that Thinking Machines tried to create and open
- Brewster's Goals with WAIS ("The Wise Man on the Hill")
- Concerns about proprietary protocols versus open
- Early interactions with Perot Systems and the Ross Perot Presidential Campaign
- WAIS, Inc. Corporate and Company Structure
- WAIS, Inc. Personnel and Positions
- WAIS, Inc. Philosophy
- Thoughts on the Electronic Publishing Revolution
- Effects of Electronic Publishing on Traditional Publishing
- Thoughts on business models and transfer mechanisms in publishing
- Thoughts on computers and computing technology in the home and home publishing
- The role of advertising in electronic publishing
- Concerns with working with government institutions
- Considering the issues of Privacy in an electronic age
- The future of WAIS, Inc. (Growing, Earning, Business Model)
Some numbers mentioned in the interview:
- A "large" government database that was 15 gigabytes, with estimates of searching this database from 24 hours down the Thinking Machines' 3 minutes.
- Dow Jones' Database is 77gb at this time.
- Dialog's Database is "close to a terabyte".
- The top-end network connection mentioned is a T3, 42 mbits/sec.
- 56kbits/sec (ISDN) is an "acceptable" connection for interacting with WAIS.
- WAIS, Inc. has 3 full-time employees at the time of the interview.
April 13, 2015
Thank you Jason Scott for improving the metadata for this
I appreciate Jason Scott's working on the description for this. I had completely forgotten about this.